In Lancashire, Victorian mahogany partners desks have long been a staple of larger offices and boardrooms. Recently, a particularly fine example went under the hammer at Christie’s of New York, realising $35,000 (more than £22,400) against an upper estimate of $25,000 (£16,000). It had cast iron provenance, having been previously acquired from the esteemed antiques historian and dealer Carlton Hobbs, of London.
A massive 32 X 91 X 49 inches in size the antique desk was one of several to achieve high prices at Christie’s November 21st Rockefeller Plaza sale: Country House Elegance: An Architectural Vision. It was listed as an English mahogany partner’s desk incorporating 19th century elements. Although no actual age was given it bore a close resemblance to designs of the Chippendale period, with a dentil frieze fitted with cedar-lined drawers, conforming plinth, arched doors to the pedestals and scrolled pilasters carved with rosettes.
The most expensive item of office furniture sold was an ornate parcel-ebonised German writing table, circa 1810, which sold for $80,500 (£51,600) – twice its lower estimate. Parcel-ebonising was a popular method of creating ebony-effect detail on Regency furniture, which endured late into the 19th century. In Cumbria, Victorian dining chairs , antique dining tables , antique chests and even carriage clocks can all be found with parcel ebonised detailing.
Although the writing table at Christie’s is of the Biedermeier period, its exaggerated carvings of griffin masks, rosettes and foliage is suggestive of German Baroque and Rococo design. If you want to know more about German antique desks, Lancashire antique dealers should be able to help.
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